Starring: Dane Cook, Ed Harris
Director: Robert Gannaway
If the first Planes film, a spin-off from Pixar’s Cars, appeared to be propelled by merchandising opportunities, this action-packed sequel attempts to stand on its own landing gear.
Director Bobs Gannaway employs the 3D format to striking effect in aerial sequences and the animation of raging infernos is impressively realistic.
However, there’s a feeling that this gung-ho adventure should have taken a flight path directly to the home formats rather than the big screen.
Soaring over Propwash Junction with his mentor Skipper (voiced by Stacy Keach), Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) suffers a malfunction. Back at the hanger, mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher) spots a dodgy gearbox.
Dusty angrily defies Dottie and careens into the town’s airport, causing a small fire.
The incident casts doubt on the ability of veteran fire and rescue truck Mayday (Hal Holbrook) to service the airport’s needs.
So Dusty agrees to abandon his racing dreams in order to earn his certificate as the town’s fire-fighting plane.
Planes 2: Fire & Rescue is geared towards younger viewers, hammering home the importance of team work and the valuable contribution of emergency services.
On the whole, though, Gannaway’s sequel lacks the sophistication and emotional richness of yesteryear’s Frozen or recent Pixar fare.